NFL: One Trade Each NFL Franchise Wishes It Could Undo
We all make mistakes. It's what makes us human.
In the NFL, you can look at a trade in many different ways. How do the new acquisitions fit into their new team? What was the cost for an impact player?
When draft choices are traded, the trade can't really be evaluated without taking into account how good the player drafted turned out to be. This can skew many trades one way or the other down the line.
Here are some trades that NFL teams regret.
Arizona Cardinals: Trading Anquan Boldin to the Ravens in 2010
When Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals were left without a star QB that had just recently brought them to the Super Bowl. When Anquan Boldin was traded to Baltimore, it meant the Cards were losing two Pro Bowl-quality players in a span of a single offseason.
It looked like a good deal at the time, but considering how abysmal the NFC West was last season, keeping Boldin around might have been the right move for the Cardinals. With Larry Fitzgerald as the Cardinal's only real threat on offense, the Cardinals have a lot of rebuilding work to do.
Atlanta Falcons: Trading Brett Favre in 1992
We all know Brett Favre was one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but he didn't get off to a very promising start. Favre was drafted by Atlanta in the 1991 NFL Draft, and appeared in two games that year, throwing four passes and two interceptions.
Atlanta lost faith in Favre, so he was shipped to Green Bay for a first round draft pick. Atlanta drafted Tony Smith with that pick, and he didn't last long in the NFL. Meanwhile, Favre became a legend at Lambeau Field and went on to set more records than he can count.
Favre is a future Hall of Famer, and Atlanta will forever have egg on their face for giving up on a legend so early in his career.
Baltimore Ravems: Trading for Willis McGahee in 2007
There is no doubt that McGahee has been a solid role player since joining the Ravens, but when the trade was made the Ravens saw him as a consistent starter and reliable 1,000+ yard rusher. This never came to fruition, as McGahee has been limited by injuries in his time in Baltimore.
Considering Mcgahee has rushed for 1,200 yards or more twice, it's more than a little disappointing to see him get 380 yards in 2010.
Sure, the Ravens only gave up their third and seventh round picks in 2007 (one turned into Trent Edwards, the Bills' No. 1 QB for a couple years, the other they used on C.J, Ah You, who was released by the Bills after the 2007 pre-season) and a third round pick in 2008 (which they traded away) but considering the numbers that McGahee has put up, Baltimore should have been able to get more.
Otherwise, Baltimore has been pretty solid on the trade front. With Ray Rice as the undisputed starter at running back, McGahee is likely on his way out this off-season.
Buffalo Bills: Trading for Drew Bledsoe in 2002
Drew Bledsoe was the face of the Patriots for many years, but when Tom Brady emerged as the starting quarterback Bledsoe became expendable. However, trading him to a division rival raised more than a few eyebrows.
This turned out to be a great trade for the Patriots, as Bledsoe only lasted a couple of years with the Bills and failed to lead them to the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Pats traded the pick they acquired to the Chicago Bears so they could move up to draft Ty Warren, who remains a core member of their defense to this day (even though he was injured for the 2010 season).
Carolina Panthers: Trading Tyrone Poole in 1998
This is another team that hasn't done much, considering they only entered the league in 1995.
One of the trades they wish they could have back, however, is the deal that sent Tyrone Poole to the Colts for a second round draft pick. The Panthers selected Chris Terry, an offensive lineman, while the Colts got Poole, who produced some great numbers and after a stint with the Broncos, went on to win two Super Bowls with the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
Chicago Bears: Trading Kyle Orton (and a Bunch of Picks) in 2009
Yes, Jake Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship last season, but when you think about the trade that got him there, it's hard to say if he was really worth everything the Bears gave up to get him.
Orton was traded along with the first and third round choices in the 2009 draft (the Broncos selected Robert Ayers, a good defensive end who is expected to stay in Denver long-term, and the third was traded to Pittsburgh, who grabbed Mike Wallace, a solid wide receiver who caught nine passes for 89 yards and a TD in the Super Bowl last season) and the first round pick in 2010 (which the Broncos traded away in a maze of trades on the 2009 draft day).
The Bears also received a fifth round selection in the 2009 draft, which they used to select Johnny Knox, a Pro Bowl wide receiver in 2010.
Orton wasn't the regret here, as he's been stellar for the Broncos. The draft pick Chicago used on Knox turned out well, but was the price too high for Cutler? I'll leave you to fathom that one.
Cincinnati Bengals: Trading Corey Dillon in 2004
The Patriots definitely got the better of this deal. The Bengals got a second round pick, which they used to select Madieu Williams, who got injured in 2005 after a solid rookie campaign and eventually signed with Minnesota in 2007 as a free agent.
Dillon played a key role in the Patriots' second consecutive Super Bowl season in 2004.
He set a career high in his first season with the club with 1,635 yards rushing, and played until 2006 when he decided to retire.
Cleveland Browns: Trading Their First Round Draft Pick (Mark Sanchez) in 2009
The Browns got a lot in exchange for this pick, but in my opinion, Mark Sanchez is better than anything they picked up in return.
The Browns got the Jets' first and second round picks, Kenyon Coleman (who is now a free agent), Brett Ratliff (who is now with the Titans after being a third stringer in Cleveland), and Abram Elam (who has had respectable seasons since joining the team from New York).
The first round pick was traded to Tampa Bay, who used it on Josh Freeman (Tampa's current starting QB) and the second round choice was used on David Veikune (who played 10 games for the Browns, got injured and was subsequently waived in 2010).
Dallas Cowboys: Trading for Roy Williams in 2008
Williams hasn't done much since coming to Dallas from Detroit. The Cowboys gave up a first, third and sixth-round pick in 2009 as well as their seventh-round pick in 2010 in order to acquire Williams, and I'm sure they wish they could have it all back.
The Cowboys have since acquired Terrell Owens (who left) and Miles Austin (who has become Dallas' number one receiver), while Williams serves as an on-field reminder for Dallas fans of what the other side of a bad trade looks like.
Denver Broncos: Trading Peyton Hillis in 2010
What a difference a year makes! Hillis' career high in Denver was 343 yards rushing in 2008, and with the Broncos looking for a backup QB for Kyle Orton, Hillis was traded along with a sixth-round selection in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012 for Brady Quinn.
Quinn is on a tight leash in Denver. The Browns faced major questions when they took Quinn 22nd overall in 2007, but he's repaid them in the long term by helping bring in a top-tier running back. Hillis gave Cleveland some hope in an otherwise bleak season, rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Hillis is set to be the cover athlete for Madden 2012, coming out this fall.
Detroit Lions: Trading Dre Bly in 2007
Bly was a two time Pro Bowl selection with the Lions, and was traded to the Broncos for Tatum Bell (who rushed for only 182 yards in his first year in Detroit after piling up 1,025 in his last season in Denver), George Foster (who started 12 games in two seasons with the Lions before he was released) and a fifth round selection in the 2007 draft.
The pick turned out to be Johnny Baldwin, who went on to play only three games in the NFL (all with the Chiefs).
Green Bay Packers: Acquiring John Hadl in 1974
This trade was dismissed at the time as the most lopsided in Packers history. Packer faithful from way back when remember this one as they traded away their first, second and third round draft picks in 1975 and their first and third rounders in 1976 for Hadl.
Hadl had a horrible career with the Green and Gold, throwing 9 TD's and 29 INT's in a stint that lasted almost two years. This trade proved to be a major setback for the Packer franchise, as they didn't qualify for the playoffs again until 1982.
Houston Texans: Not Trading David Carr
The Houston Texans are such a young franchise that the only personnel moves to really hurt them have been the trades they didn't make. The Texans have only gotten better since their addition to the NFL in 2002.
David Carr was a first overall pick for the Texans, and they could've gotten some solid players in return for him in 2006. Before they could cash in, Carr left, signing with Carolina, and the Texans were left with no return on the first draft pick in the franchise's history.
Indianapolis Colts: Trading Marshall Faulk in 1999
Marshall Faulk was part of "The Greatest Show on Turf" with the Rams, reaching two Super Bowls and winning one of them. Originally drafted by the Colts, Faulk had issues with management in Indianapolis, and they parted ways in 1999, Indy getting second and fifth round draft picks in return.
Faulk became a Hall of Famer, while the draft picks Indy got in return went nowhere. Considering Faulk's success with the Rams, Colts fans know they should have gotten more.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trading Mark Brunell in 2004
When Brunell came to the Jaguars via trade in 1995, he became a star.
No longer stuck in Brett Favre's shadow in Green Bay, Brunell played eight seasons for Jacksonville, and was named to three Pro Bowls, was Pro Bowl MVP in 1997 and led the Jags to two AFC Championship appearances in 1996 and 1999.
After all Brunell did for the franchise, the Jags still decided to go with Byron Leftwich as their starter, and Brunell was traded to the Redskins for a third round pick in the 2004 draft. That pick was traded away for another pick that eventually became Jorge Cordova, who spent two injury-riddled seasons with Jacksonville before being released in 2007.
Brunell, meanwhile, became the starter in Washington, and was a candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2005.
Kansas City Chiefs: Trading Tony Gonzalez in 2010
It's hard to measure such a recent trade in any significant way. However, when you look at the stats that Tony Gonzalez put up since arriving in Atlanta, it's enough to make the Chiefs look silly.
Gonzalez is a ten-time Pro Bowler who Kansas City thought was on his last legs, but he's proven otherwise in Atlanta.
Gonzalez was the most consistent tight end in the NFL, and helped the Falcons to an NFC-best 13-3 record in 2010. The Chiefs drafted Javier Arenas with the pick they got in return, and while the trade may even out if Arenas develops into a star, for now Kansas city is regretting their decision to let go of a legendary tight end.
Miami Dolphins: Trading Wes Welker in 2007
Wes Welker used to be one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. When he was traded to New England in 2007, he instantly burst onto the scene as one of the best slot receivers in the game.
Welker has had multiple 100+ catch seasons in New England, and all the Dolphins got in return were the Patriots' second and seventh-round picks in 2007. Welker isn't flying under the radar anymore, and the Dolphins only have themselves to blame.
Minnesota Vikings: Acquiring Randy Moss in 2010
Randy Moss returned to the team that drafted him in 2010 and only lasted four games. In that fourth game, Moss faced the team that traded him away, the New England Patriots.
After the game, Moss expressed his regret at causing the Patriots front office to move him, and to this day he talks about his desire to play in Foxborough again.
The Vikings only traded away a fourth round selection for Moss, but they still regret it based on what happened in his final month with the team. Moss didn't produce anywhere near as much as the Vikings had hoped, and other than catching Brett Favre's 500th TD pass, nothing else of significance happened during his stay.
Sure, the Vikings got a seventh round pick in 2012 to go with him, but at this point, this trade looks like a total bust.
New England Patriots: Trading First Round Pick (Jerry Rice) in 1985
Patriot fans, imagine for a moment if Jerry Rice had been a member of the Pats instead of the 49ers. I'm not one to be petty, but considering all the success the Patriots have had in the new millennium, their teams in the mid-80's were mediocre at best.
If they had Jerry Rice, there's a chance they could now be the most decorated franchise in NFL history.
However, the Patriots chose to pass on him when they traded their 16th overall pick to the 49ers for the 28th overall pick (some picks in later rounds were also exchanged). New England hasn't made too many bad trades in franchise history, but this is one I'd want back.
New Orleans Saints: Trading 1998 Draft Picks for Ricky Williams
In the 1999 draft, Ricky Williams was a hot commodity. So hot, in fact, that the Saints decided to boldly trade all of their picks in that year's draft (plus a first and third in the following year's draft)
in order to move up and draft Williams.
In retrospect, Williams had a few good years with the Saints, but he only spent three seasons there before getting traded to Miami.
Sacrificing an entire draft class for Ricky Williams is a move Saints fans wish the franchise never made. They won a Super Bowl not long ago, but by that time Ricky Williams was long gone.
New York Jets: Trading for Kris Jenkins in 2008
Everything was going well for Kris Jenkins. His injury problems were a thing of the past, and he was coming off a magnificent 2008 season when he was considered a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
In 2009, everything went south for Jenkins. After two ACL tears, Jenkins has played a combined seven games over the last two seasons and was released by the Jets in February. The Jets gave up third and fifth round selections in the 2008 draft for Jenkins, picks that were used on Charles Godfrey, a cornerback-turned-safety who has put up great numbers in Carolina, and Gary Barnidge, a backup tight end.
New York Giants: Acquiring Eli Manning in 2004
I know what you must be thinking. The Giants won a Super Bowl ring with Manning, and Philip Rivers (who Manning was traded for on draft day) hasn't even made it to the Super Bowl with San Diego. Manning isn't what the Giants regret most about this pick, but the other picks they gave up are more than enough to give them pause.
Rivers has proven to be a consistent QB with an average supporting cast, but the strong quarterback play elsewhere in the AFC has made it difficult for him to stand out. The two other picks the Giants gave up are their biggest regret, as they turned into Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.
Merriman was claimed off waivers in 2010 by the Bills, but only after he had been selected to three Pro Bowls in San Diego.
Kaeding is still in San Diego, and is regarded as one of the most accurate placekickers in NFL history. Some still believe the Chargers aren't too far from a Super Bowl with Rivers at the helm, and they maintain he'll eventually be more successful than Manning, despite Eli's Super Bowl ring from 2007.
Oakland Raiders: Trading Randy Moss in 2007
The Oakland Raiders are yet another team on this list for a deal involving Randy Moss. The Patriots gave up a fourth-round selection for Moss, which turned into John Bowie.
Bowie is no longer in the NFL, and Moss had a career resurgence in New England and played a huge part in their 16-0 season in his first year with the team.
The trade needed to happen, but considering how little Oakland got in return, they should still have some regrets about how the deal went down.
Philadelphia Eagles: Trading Their 12th Pick (Warren Sapp) in 1995
With most trades that include just picks, it's tough to measure who got the better of the deal until we find out who the picks involved turned out to be. In this case, the Eagles traded their 12th overall pick (as well as two second round picks) to Tampa Bay for their seventh overall pick. The Eagles used that pick to grab Mike Mamula, a guy who played five seasons with the Eagles before retiring in 2000.
Tampa Bay used the 12th overall pick to grab Warren Sapp, a seven-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Bucs in 2002.
If you thought that was bad, the second round selections were packaged in a deal to get the 28th overall pick, which the Buccaneers used to draft Derrick Brooks, an eventual eleven-time Pro Bowler and Defensive Player of the Year.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Trading Santonio Holmes in 2010
Holmes is a former Super Bowl MVP, and in April of 2010 the Jets got him for the low low price of a fifth round draft pick.
Holmes turned into a key component of the Jets offense in 2010, and they rode the momentum from a strong regular season all the way to the AFC Championship, where they lost to the same team that traded them Holmes, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers wanted Holmes gone because of issues off the field, but their concerns proved to be overblown. Holmes is now an integral part of one of the most promising young offenses in the NFL, and if Mark Sanchez continues to improve it won't be long before the Jets lift the Lombardi Trophy.
Holmes has been a huge contributor, and all the Jets gave up was a fifth-rounder. Bravo to Rex Ryan, but I don't think the Steelers are too worried...yet.
San Diego Charger: Acquiring the Second Overall Pick (Ryan Leaf) in 1998
This was a trade so bad that it ended up holding the Chargers organization back for years.
Ryan Leaf was touted as the best quarterback in the 1998 draft class. When Peyton Manning was chosen first overall, the Chargers jumped on a trade with the Arizona Cardinals that sent Arizona's second overall pick to San Diego for two picks, one later in the first round and one in the second.
Leaf turned out to be a legendary draft bust, and the Chargers ended up giving out two solid picks just to find out.
San Francisco 49ers: Trading Terrell Owens in 2004
Thanks to this trade, the Eagles finally advanced to the Super Bowl after years of losing in the NFC Championship game.
Owens may have not lasted long with Philadelphia, but the Niners can't deny that they could have gotten more for a player who now isn't far from several major receiving records. In my opinion, a conditional fifth-rounder and Brandon Whiting was not enough.
Seattle Seahawks: Acquiring/trading Deion Branch in 2006/2010
What a bust this turned out to be. Branch never really fit in with Seattle, and Seattle gave up a first-rounder for him. The Patriots grabbed Brandon Merriweather with that pick, and he turned out to be a Pro Bowler and an important part for the Patriots defense.
When Seattle traded Branch back to New England, they got a fourth-rounder in return.
The Patriots got the best of the Seahawks in two separate trades involving the same player, and the Seahawks have nothing to show for either transaction.
St. Louis Rams: Trading Jerome Bettis in 1996
At the time, the Rams parting ways with Bettis seemed like a good decision. Of course, if you just focus on the trade, you can see how lopsided it was.
Sure, the Rams came to prominence a few years later after they moved out of Los Angeles, but Bettis became one of the most successful running backs in NFL history.
The Bus was a six time Pro Bowler, and ended a great career in his hometown of Detroit, the site of the Super Bowl he won with Pittsburgh in 2005. Success for the price of a second and fourth-rounder in 1996 and 1997 respectively? I'll take that deal any day of the week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trading Steve Young in 1987
This was similar to what happened to Brett Favre in Atlanta. A young QB who was struggling to find his rhythm with the team that drafted him was traded away, and become a legend in his new home.
Steve Young became one of the best quarterbacks in 49ers history, winning three Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP award, and several regular-season MVP awards. Young was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Tennessee Titans: Trading Steve McNair in 2006
I know many of you will disagree, considering the injury problems McNair had near the end of his tenure, but think about this: the Titans traded a guy that was NFL MVP only two years prior for a fourth-round draft pick.
The trade also led to the beginning of the Vince Young experiment in Tennessee, which we now know turned out to be a failure.
Sure, the Titans were 13-3 in 2008, and Kerry Collins turned out to be better than expected, but McNair was the face of the franchise for some time, and I would've taken this trade back fore sure. McNair led the Ravens to a 13-3 record in his first season with the team.
Washington Redskins: Acquiring Donovan McNabb in 2010
When the Redskins made the trade for Donovan McNabb, they thought they had finally found their franchise quarterback.
Looking back on the trade now, it will go down as one of the most lopsided in NFL history. McNabb fought valiantly in 2010 for Washington but couldn't find any success.
The Eagles got a second and third round selection in return, which wasn't a huge price to pay, but considering how ineffective McNabb was in Washington, this is definitely a trade the Redskins would love to have back.
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